Professional basketball officially tips off for the Philadelphia 76ers
in the Northwest tonight, as the boys take on the Portland Trailblazers
in the season opener. There were five marquee league games on national
TV yesterday, with show-stopping performances from the likes of Carmelo
Anthony, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul, but we all know the
old saying—the NBA season doesn't really start until Jodie Meeks
attempts to take Wesley Matthews off the dribble. Usually it's just a
metaphor, but tonight, it is a reality.
You know how we've been saying all two-week-long off-season about how
the Sixers have been in stark contrast to the whole league in how
they've brought their whole team back and not rocked the apple cart in
any meaningful way? The contrasting example to this would have to be the
Portland Trailblazers. Their one-time franchise player (Brandon Roy)
retired for medical reasons, their one-time back-up franchise player
(Greg Oden) proved again that he may never be able to play a game of
hopscotch without shattering three ligaments, they swapped point guards
with the Nuggets (bye bye Andre Miller, hello Raymond Felton) and added a high-profile gunner (Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamal Crawford).
Much is different with the Blazers, yet much is still the same—they
remain a deep, talented, well-coached team that lacks conventional star
power and is likely destined to lose in the first round of the playoffs
for the umpteenth straight year. In this, they are something of a
kindred spirit to our own 76ers. So it will be striking a blow not only
for our team and the city of Philadelphia, but for all Eastern
Conference slightly-above-averageness with a win tonight. If that
doesn't get the boys riled up, I don't know what will.
10:00 tip from the Rose Garden in PDX. Hands in the middle, guys. 'Dre,
as longest-tenured Sixer and unofficial team leader, you got anything
you want to say?
Thanks, Dre. GOOOOOOOO SIXERS!!!